Twin Lakes Outdoor Space in Gunbarrel, Colorado is a dog park, with lake access for dogs.
The views are breathtaking and it is a beautiful place, especially during the golden hour.
Keep scrolling out my photos from my adventure at the dog park!
Harlee Jo, my favorite Red Heeler puppy, got to frolick and to play, and it is safe to say that she had a great time playing fetch.
On June 22, 2018, two of my coworkers, plus their dogs, and I made our way up to the mountains, in order to engage in some all natural therapy for several days.
Camping in the Summer is an activity that is supremely popular in Colorado, so we decided to jump on the bangwagon and get campin’.
I have not been camping in a little bit, so this camping trip served as an excellent way to dip my toes back in the water.
As a kid, my parents took my brother and I camping pretty regularly. But, as I grew older, the camping trips became much more of a rare occassion.
Throughout my high school and collegiate careers, I went camping at least once or twice a year, but still it did not compare to the number of camping trips that I went on as a child. Plus, these camping trips tended to get more *wild,* as they were unsupervised, only consisting of a group of high school-aged kids, or college kids, who did everything but be responsible.
Let us just say that those camping trips consisted of a surplus of low-grade vodka, usually Burnetts, UV, or McCormicks, and a bunch of 30-racks of Rolling Rock or Natty Ice.
But, what better place to celebrate being reckless, or engage in underage drinking, than in the wild, with views that extend 360 degrees? Might as well be irresponsible, in nature, where the views are endless and breathtaking. Plus, the sudden rise in elevation guaranteed that at least one person would end up either peeing themselves, “blacked out,” or passed out somewhere in the woods, or in someone’s car.
This camping trip was the first one of the Summer! My friends, their dogs, and myself made our way to Peaceful Valley, Colorado, to a campsite named “Camp Dick.” The campsite was completely full and occupied with eager campers and families.
Our campsite was located in the middle of Camp Dick, so we had some pretty great views! The campsite was located in a valley that was completely covered in green, lush trees, almost making it seem as if we were in a forest!
While Sunday, June, 24, was a fairly cloudy and rainy day, Friday and Saturday were some of the sunniest and warmest days ever! Even in the middle of the mountains, where the temperatures are supposedly cooler than in Boulder, Colorado, I found myself sweating and complaining about being “too hot,” or “way too warm.”
Camp Dick had a lot more to offer than we even expected, including a beautiful creek, or river, that ran through the entire campsite! Beyond the creek, one could find infinite amounts of trees and forestry until the eye could extend.
It was incredibly calming to be completely surrounded by nature, or to be isolated from “the real world.” The sounds of nature and the simplicity of nature serve as some of my most favorite anti-anxiety agents!
The main source of entertainment, minus spending time in nature, attempting to start a camp fire, and making friends with 5-years-olds, was definitely the dogs that decided to accompany us on our trip!
My coworkers have own of the cutest dogs, or best friends, ever!!
Seeing them in the wild, or in their element outside of doggy day care, was extremely comical and AWESOME.
This weekend solidified my place as reigning godmother to both of these beautiful, eccentric dogs who continue to fill my life with love, happiness, and barking.
Harlee Jo, a red heeler australian cattle dog puppy, is currently five months old, and is one of my favorite playmates ever! She is the definition of a puppy and still does have a lot to learn, however, she is the most fun puppy ever known to man! Not to mention, she is one of the most unique and breathtaking puppies I have ever set eyes on. Harlee is seriously one of the prettiest cattle dogs that I have ever layed eyes on and I am completely obsessed with her. There is never a dull moment with Harlee Jo!
Minnie, a chiwuini, is a little over one-years-old, but do not let her extremely small body fool you! She has the biggest personality ever known to man and a very expressive soul, existence, and face! Minnie resembles a character from a Disney/Pixar movie, and I think that she is so incredibly animated. She is one of the most loving and sassy girls I know!
How have you been spending your Summer nights? Have you gone camping this summer?
“Happy birthday to me, I blew up a zoo, I look like a monkey and I am 102!”
My birthday fell on a Sunday this year, and lands on the tenth day of June.
I am not quite the biggest fan of my birthday, or drawing any unnecessary attention to myself.
Also, what do you do when people are singing “Happy Birthday” to you? Who do you look at? What do you look at?
My birthday has always been kind to me, but my birthdays in my 20s have not been my best, or even that kind to me.
This year, I was turning 23-years old, and for the first time in my 20s, I was fairly excited for this birthday, but probably for reasons beyond having an excuse to put my party pants on and get myself in trouble.
For the first time in my 20s, I am finally beginning to learn to love myself, to learn to exhibit qualities of conscious and aware person, to learn to understand myself, to learn to hold myself accountable, to learn to make better decisions, to learn to take care of myself, to learn to become independent, and to recognize and to embrace consistency within my life. I also have finally for the first time feel like I have stability and consistency within my life, which is a refreshing blessing and realization to come. It has brought me so much more happiness and love into my life, but I will admit that from time-to-time I find myself frustrated with consistency, stability, and routines within my life.
With all this said, my expectations for my birthday and my celebratory events are fairly minimal and not overwhelming, as I have come to realize that most people’s 23rd birthday expectations and celebrations are much more extravagant and involve more drinking and partying than my own.
I wanted to treat my birthday like a normal day, and engage in activities that I had been attempting to do for a while. None of these activities I had planned involved drinking, as the thought of drinking excessively disgusted me. This year, I wanted to have a meaningful birthday, where I truly recognized the importance and the beauty behind a birthday, which is essentially the blessing of making it to another year of life.
My birthday began with an early morning trip to the Butterfly Pavilion, a place that I had been trying to go to for a while now. The Butterfly Pavilion is a pavilion full of butterflies, just as the name of the institution explains.
As a child, I had visited the Butterfly Pavilion various times, but it had been at least 12-years since I had been there last. It was almost like I was going for the first time!
The beginning of the exhibits at the Butterfly Pavilion consisted of a wide variety of unique insects, who had most certainly been specially selected to be put on display. The first room of animals consisted of displays full of insects and bugs, including a array of beetles, bees, and crickets to name a few. The insect section totally frightened me, but I still found myself looking into the glass displays that were occupied with diverse “insectual” creatures. In addition to these various insects and bugs displayed, this first section of exhibit also contained the second noteable, if not the most noteable, feature of the Butterfly Pavilion, which is the giant tarantula, Rosie. Rosie is quite iconic and the Butterfly Pavilion’s most famous exhibit, as they allow individuals to hold and pet her. Rosie is just about the only thing that I remember about the Butterfly Pavilion from my frequent childhood visits here.
As a child, I was too afraid to interact to personally with an arachnid, as I have arachnaphobia. Not to mention, she is huge! And, as a young adult, I have the same feelings about interacting to intimately with Rosie, and I made the same decision I have continued to make since my childhood, which was to simply not let Rosie into my personal bubble space. Basically, I still am just as afraid of Rosie as I was when I was a child, and not even $1 million could make me hold, pet, or coddle Rosie. I do not think this will change any time soon.
My favorite part about the insect section was how aesthetically pleasing all these glass displays were decorated, in order for these insects to grow, thrive, and live. Many of the displays contained succulents, cacti, etc.
The second half of the exhibit also included a wide variety of unique animals, but instead of bugs and insects, this exhibit displayed a variety of marine creatures, including an octupus, slipper lobster, and crabs to name a few. This section was very cool, and also involved an interactive station that allowed one to pet an ancient horseshoe crab. I was much less hesistant to pet a horseshoe crab than I was to hold Rosie the Tarantula. Petting a horseshoe crab felt exactly like what it sounded like, as I was essentially petting a crab shell. I must say that it felt very smooth!
I have never seen a horseshoe crab in person, so this was a first for me! In a very strange way, the horseshoe crab was kind of cute and mildly facisnating!
Now, onto the next section of the Butterfly Pavilion…
The next and final portion of the Butterfly Pavilion was in fact the Wings Of the Tropics conservatory, which not only houses and holds all the beautiful and extravagant butterflies, but also mimics butterflies’ natural habitat! A butterfly’s natural habitat is a tropical rainforest, so the conservatory is full of lush plants and flora, and mimics the damp, wet environment of a tropical rainforest, with a very functional roof top sprinkler system that allows for the conservatory to accurately exhibit all tropical features, as well as allow for the butterflies to naturally live their lives in an environment that allows them to thrive and fly freely.
The number of butterflies and months were outstanding, and the pavilion’s collection of butterflies were quite extensive. While I was expecting to see a lot of butterflies, the conservatory managed to baffle me by containing about triple the number of butterflies than I even anticipated. Everywhere I looked, or did not look, there were butterflies.
Some were mating, some were playing, some were flying into eachother, some were dead, some were sucking nectar, and some were trying to land on me.
The idea of interacting with butterflies very intimately seems appealing and much easier than I realized, as I did not know how much butterflies (kind of, sort of) scared me. Bugs and insects, even though I find butterflies completely facisnating and such beautiful creatures, seem to creep me out more than anything else in this world. After closely inspecting a butterfly sucking nectar out of a pink flower, I quickly noticed how “insect-like” these creatures were, which kind of freaked me out. While their wings do not scare me, it seems that the rest of their physical characteristics, which resemble insect-like bodies, ultimately set me off and made me fearful of them making contact with them.
While I had no real intention of making contact with a butterfly, NOT EVEN FOR AN INSTAGRAM, a butterfly still managed to land on me. I managed to capture the entire event on video, which features me minding my own business filming two butterflies who seem to be playing together. The video takes a turn for the worst when one butterfly begins to steer away from the other one, and begins slowly making its’ way towards my leg.
But, what are the chances that a butterfly lands on you? Not very high, that is for sure!
My immediate reaction to this butterfly landing on my leg was a high-pitched, almost defeaning yell of terror, fear, and uncomfortability. This was not the reaction I was hoping to have when the butterfly landed on me, but once again, my trip to the Butterfly Pavilion only made it clear to me that, while I do enjoy the existence of butterflies, they also mildly terrify me with their insect-like mannerisms and physical characteristics.
The assortment of butterflies and months was mindblowing to witness. There were butterflies of every color of the rainbow!
The monarch butterfly was the only speices of butterflies that I knew, and I was luckily able to see one in the flesh during my time in the conservatory!
As the day matured, I slowly made my way down to Denver, Colorado, for a few more attractions, including Voodoo Donuts, Benihana’s, and Queen City General Store.
Voodoo Donuts has some of the best donuts and most extravagant donuts, with some of the best toppings and flavors I have ever eaten. A dozen of these carefully crafted donuts was more than enough to crave my sweet tooth, or my sugar addiction.
Queen City General Store was one of my favorite stops, during my birthday adventure/extravagantza. This eclectic store sold a variety of very hip, very vintage, and very cool items, all ranging from succulents, to jewelry, to Levi’s, to plant holders, to artwork. This store carried everything!
The ambiance and the decor of the store was intriguing and aesthetically pleasing, as I generally love stores such as these. They are truly one-of-a-kind, and as a result of their uniqueness, their inventory features one-of-a-kind merchandise.
The array of succulents, and the diversity of succulents, was incredible, making it virtually very hard to choose three succulents to call my own, as well as my birthday gift.
The jewelry featured in the store was remarkable and most certainly radiated beauty. The collection of pieces that were showcased were so unique, spunky, yet tasteful, all while being simplistic. I had never seen such a collection of jewelry that I truly enjoyed like I did the pieces at Queen City General Store!
The overall vibe of the store was trendy, and the jewelry only affirmed the trendiness of the store!
I walked out of the store with a three new plant friends, which I could call my very own. I also managed to name these new companions of mine, naming the cactus, Pokè, naming the other smaller and pointy succulent, Piper, as the branches of the succulent reminded me of pipes, and finally the Echeveria succulent, or the flower shaped succulent, or the biggest succulent of the bunch, was named Poppy.
But, wait…what was my favorite part of the entire store (Queen City General Store)? You may ask…
And, my answer is the DISCO BALLS!
The interior decoration of the store was beyond exceptional, and I found so much inspiration within the four walls of this store.
Beyond the eclectic merchandise sold, the interior decoration of the store was completely unique, fun, and imitation-worthy, meaning that I would most definitely imitate certain aspects of the decor and incorporate it into the design of my current apartment in a heartbeat.
DISCO BALLS ARE SO FUN, FUNKY, ECLECTIC, VISUALLY STIMULATING, COOL, TRENDY, AND UNDERRATED, so you can only imagine how excited I was to see them being used for a good cause.
The disco balls only elevated the “coolness” of the store, and may be 38% of the reason why I will be returning to this “very cool store.”
My birthday was a success for those who were wondering, and I feel very blessed, stressed, happy, proud, accomplished, and foolish for another opporutnity to live another day, and hopefully another year!
While birthdays, especially birthdays when you are in your 20s, are supposed to celebrated with mass amounts of booze, excessive amounts of poor decisions, and all-night partying, mine was very simplistic and very sober, as I truly wanted to appreciate the simple, yet profound idea behind a birthday.
I try to treat every day as a birthday, which is potentially why I am unable to perform in the party department like many of my peers on my actual birthday. For some reason, it truly makes me uncomfortable!!!
I felt very loved this year on my birthday, as it was full of many texts, phone calls, and verbal messages from loved ones that wished me a wonderful day, and a wonderful year, as I rang in my 23rd year of life.
This year, instead of focusing on all the individuals who did not acknowledge my birthday, I focused most of my energy on all the individuals who went out of their way to wish me the best in life and the best birthday yet! The amount of love I received was phenomenal, and all my good friends, and the ones who truly matter, gently reminded me how much I am loved on that day.
I am extremely excited for my 23rd year of life! I am looking forward to making many mistakes, accomplishing many goals, pushing myself beyond my boundaries, being happy, making more memories, experiencing new things, learning how to adult more efficiently, working my a$$ off, and all the opportunities that may come my way.
I have a feeling that this year of my life will be FREAKING AWESOME, and I am very excited to embark on this journey!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ALL MY JUNE BABIES & GEMINIS!!
THIS YEAR OF YOUR LIFE WILL BE THE BEST YET (I HOPE)!
What is your favorite way to celebrate your birthday? What is your favorite memory from your last birthday?
“PARTY LIKE IT IS YOUR BIRTHDAY EVERY DAY” -Lil’ Jon, LMFAO, every rapper ever, society, etc..
Also, a huge shoutout to all my loved, friends and family included, who wished me a happy birthday and contributed to making my birthday such a great, simple, and magical day! It means a lot!
How can I ever stop posting galleries of my favorite campers, otherwise known as the dogs? They bring me so much joy and they have begun infiltrating my life in more ways than one.
There is not a day that goes by where I do not think about my furry friends, who I love and who I spend about 40 hours a week with.
It was only a matter of time before they became the primary focus of my energy, time, conversations, emotions, etc.
They continue to remind me, untintentionally, that there are many things that I must continue to work on and things that I need to focus on.
Being in an environment, in which every single soul depends on you for comfort and for safety, emotionally, mentally, and physically, places a lot of stress and responsibility upon you. I am also reminded that some of my very intuitive friends will not react towards certain situations, which we view as insignificant, the way that we expect, or even the way that you like.
This applies to everyone and my life outside of work, which has helped me attempt to achieve a softer, kinder, compassionate, and empathetic reaction towards myself, the people I surround myself with, and the forces and circumstances that are completely out of my control.
While this is not a trait that is easily attained, I am attempting to grasp the concept of “patience” and “being patient.” Beyond grasping the concept, I am working towards implementing it into my life as much as possible, which has been much more difficult than one would imagine. I strive to practice patience all the time, but patience is not easily practiced. On a good day, patience is exuded out of me, especially when I do not consciously practice it, or intentionally set out to be patient and it just happens to exude out of me. These may not be my most gracious or comfortable moments, but learning to be patient with yourself, your life and your circumstances is all very important in learning to love youreslf. Patience, or possessing patience, is one of the greatest gifts that these furry friends of mine have taught me. This includes learning to be patient, even when I am completely uncomfortable, and learning to accept that there will be portions of my life that will be VERY UNCOMFORTABLE and make me want to crawl out of my own skin.
Prior to working at Camp Bow Wow and spending so much time with such genuine creatures, I did not realize how much patience can be practiced in many different ways than one and how being patient with things in which I act impulsively would assist me in growing and learning to love myself.
Last week, during my shift Friday, in which I was closing, I found myself feeling very vulnerable and VERY ANXIOUS. In fact, anxious is not even the word that I would use to describe how I was feeling. I found myself panicking, as I found myself feeling very uncomfortable and insecure. There are many situations that we can encounter in life and have to deal with that we cannot control, which is something that I am constantly reminded of. Whether I am happy with the fact that things will be out of my control is not anyone’s business, because I am often not very happy about it. When certain circumstances that you cannot control affect you negatively and apply stress onto your plate, most people complain or talk about it, but I choose to repress these feelings and thoughts until I hit a breaking point.
Friday afternoon and early evening was my breaking point, in which I acknowledged that certain aspects of my life are far from perfect and have started affecting me negatively. I try not blame anyone, anything, or life, instead I just realize that nothing in life is perfect and pray for this situation to make itself go away. I am not the biggest fan of appearing vulnerable outwardly, especially in professional settings, but this panic could not be masked. In addition to this, I hate making others feel uncomfortable while I am enduring a panic attack, as I would rather mask my anxiety attack and make it appear that I am calm as a cucumber when inside I am blowing up and far from calm. I normally am able to achieve an outward appearance that indicates that anxiety is not in my vocabulary, however, I finally showed my true colors.
My panic attack allowed me to be more open and communicate with my managers about my own mental diagnoses, and what I deal with. My work environment is incredible, as they continued to encourage honesty and open communication about my personal life and deeper things, so they could accomodate these aspects so I can continue to succeed at work. I hate feeling weak, and while it was uncomfortable for me to show emotions other than positive and happy, I cried my way through explainining what other circumstances I was enduring.
While my co-workers did not expect this kind of reaction, nor were they were aware of the extent of my “anxiety,” I did manage to make them concerned, worried, and a little fearful of what my anxiety and panic was capable of. My entire eight hour shift was full of apologies about how I was anxious and hoping that no one else would feel uncomfortable by my anxious presence. I even forgot how to breathe, which is the fundamental of living.
The greatest part about getting through this entire shift and being honest about the hardships I was oncurring was that I had to implement the act of patience, as I could not escape this obligation and I had no choice but to essentially “be.”
I had to push myself to just be patient with myself, which I could not seem to manage.
Who would have thought that just being yourself could be so uncomfortable?
This Friday reminded me why I do what I do and why I work with such gentle creatures, such as dogs. These very receptive and intelligent animals can pick up on emotions, moods, and energies, better than the average human, making it almost hard to even dislike a member of this species. Even while I felt so uncomfortable, felt so anxious, felt so panicky, felt sad, felt exhausted, felt insufficient, felt helpless, and felt vulnerable, these kind creatures managed to quite literally make their way into my arms and then into my heart, by strategically snuggling with me, carefully placing themselves into my arms and placing their bodies against my heart. Friday, if this was even possible, my campers displayed kindness, affection, joy, and empathy to an extent that I had never even imagined was possible. The way that they welcomed me and continued to show me affection made me realize how healing spending time with my campers is. It also made me think that I should be panicking more often, so I can receive that kind of treatment (LOL, JK). While I would never wish to endure that again, I can only guarantee that it will happen again, however, having a support system made of four-legged LOVERS continues to give me the hope and the courage to keep trying.
I also was able to witness first-hand what some of these campers endure, as not every camper enjoys doggy day care. Even if they do not enjoy it and are visibly exuding anxiety and panic, they seemingly have no choice but to endure the day at Camp Bow Wow, in one of the six dog yards that we have. Even if they are not trying to socialize with others or play, there is always someone who pushes you over the edge and causes you to snap. It takes so much courage and so much strength for these furry friends to get through an entire day, let along a half-day, of day care, as there are many aspects of Camp Bow Wow that are beyond your control.
Recently, I have found myself placing myself in some of these campers shoes, in which I had begun to realize how much I would HATE attending doggy day care, especially with all the factors that are out of your control. I imagined myself being an anxious wreck, acting like the most vulnerable versions of myself, and spending many days at camp in isolation, in the hopes that no one will bother me. I have formed bonds with many dogs, all of which expresss their anxiety and panic differently, whether it be aggressively or emotionally.
It takes so much strengh and courage for ALL CREATURES to put themselves out there, let along for them to socialize with others and put themselves out there.
It still continues to amaze me how strong and how much pain, anguish, and hurdles, these campers go through in order to simply accomodate their parents schedules, lifestyles, and decisions. In fact, attending doggy day care, as well as the length of time they spend there, is completely out of their control. Similarly, nothing about doggy day care is very consistent, minus what time breakfast, lunch, and dinner are initiated. The rest of the stressful factors that come with attending doggy day care, without their consent, are completely out of their control. The most consistency that these animals get are being in the same dog yard as a “Camp Counselor” that they are familiar with. I suppose the only consistent factor of Camp Bow Wow is the full-time staff, as it is not gauranteed that the same dogs will be in your dog yard, which often holds up to 35 dogs. Even the “Camp Counselors” are barely consistent, as we have a higher turnover rate than one would expect.
Not to be cliché, but every moment with these campers is a kodak moment. You cannot capture every single moment with these amazing creatures, as they are capable of doing things that you never thought were even possible, because they never fail to surprise me with a handful of hilarious moments. Sometimes, moments are too precious to even waste time capturing, so I choose to mentally store these visual memories into the kodak moments of my life, deep within my brain.
Please feel free to share your favorite kodak moments with your favorite furry friends! There is nothing that brings me more joy than a photograph of a man’s best friend, doing what they do best. The only thing that beats a photograph is the ability to witness the cuteness in person.
#DOGSOVERDONGS – The latest hashtag that graced my life, obviously at work. Basically, this hashtag reinforces the idea that dogs are infinitely better than any male companion, or female companion. I appreciate this hashtag and life motto on a more personal level.
Another batch of photographs of my furry friends, showcasing their animated nature and huge smiles. Their joy and their smiles are contagious. It is easy to pick up on their personalities that they naturally exude, just by glancing at their photographs.
These dogs give me life and are the real reason that I wake up with a smile on my face every day. They truly give me a purpose and make me happy, regardless of my mood that day. How can you have a bad day when a dog is constantly smiling at you, to the point that it almost seems creepy?
I am very envious of how animated these creatures are, in addition to all of their many exceptional qualities. Their faces could light up an entire room.
Enjoy a gallery of my beautiful friends having a doggin’ good time
A dog’s face and body language says everything about how they are feeling, all while showcasing their unique personalities. It is wonderful to be able to see their personalities come to life with the assistance of a camera. I must say that these furry friends are not camera shy, as they sure know their angles.
Their genuine emotions always shine through, as they truly have nothing but room for love in their hearts ♥